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Kupang, West Timor, August 19th-22nd 2007 (by Dagmar)
Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province, which includes West Timor, Rote, Sumba, Flores, Komodo and other small islands around, is only a small city compared to the metropolises of Java. This was our first port of call to enter Indonesia.
The city center is busy and noisy. The local colorful buses, called 'bemos' are honking their horns all the time, are decorated with the brightest stickers, looking like living rooms in the cockpit, stuffed with toys, plastic flowers, and playing the loudest eardrum-blasting-bass-filled music you can imagine, conversation inside is impossible. We changed money and were Rupiah Millionaires right away, 12.000 Rupiah equals 1 Euro!!!
We had a lot of help from On, a 23-year old Timorese who taught himself English. With the 'bemos' he took us to Immigration, arranged Quarantine,.....
took us to the local market, 'Pasar Oeba', where he is selling fish with his father, the days no yachties are in town who need his help.....
visiting the monkey park close to Tenau harbor.... Before we left for the monkey park by bemo, Bart and On bought corn and bananas. At the park Soleil and On fed the monkeys, macaques. Later Soleil took out her sketchbook to draw them.
At the East Nusa Tenggara Museum we could have a look at a collection of arts, crafts and artifacts from all over the province, including the making of Ikat. Ikat means to tie or bind, and is the name for the intricately patterned cloth of threads which are skillfully and painstakingly tie-dyed being woven together. But it is in Nusa Tenggara that this ancient art form thrives. Ikat garments are still used daily, as blankets, as wrapped around, serving as skirt.
Rote Island, West Timor, August 23rd - September 3rd 2007 (by Dagmar)
Rote is the southernmost island in Indonesia, hanging off the western end of Timor. With "de Pelikaan" we sailed to the bay in front of Nemberala village. Interesting local boats were passing us on the way.
Nemberala village is a surfer's secret for many years. A long coral reef runs right along the main beach. The bay offers surfing possibilities for all levels. Therefore the whole family can enjoy it. The crews of "Ohana Kai" and "Moorea" joined us there. The guys went out in the mornings and late afternoons to shred the waves of the main break, kids and Mom's enjoyed "Learners". Surfers Paradise... For more surfing pictures go to the indo surf pages
The village is friendly and very relaxed. The Timorese are delightful, love visitors.
Seaweed farms are covering the shores, beside fishing one of the main incomes of the Nemberala people.
Kids are following you, shouting 'Misses, Master', loving to touch your white skin, to see if it colors their little hands...
We could watch their Mom weaving "Ikat" on her loom, having a cold drink in the village at grandma's, and picking up fresh baked bread and chocolate cake at the small bakery. They are baking all goodies in this small micro wave looking oven.
The market on Tuesday was the most exciting event in the village. It was very crowded around the market place, lots of 'bemos' from other villages, motorcycles, and the bay was filling up quickly with fisher boats from neighboring islands. Fresh fruits and veggies, betel nut, all kinds of spices, plastic ware, dried fish... Soleil tried to carry the water buckets with which the locals are carrying their water from the well.
The kids had lots of fun on the beach and in the pool of "Nemberala Lodge".
Sawu Island, September 5th - 6th 2007 (by Dagmar)
Sawu, is the most isolated of Nusa Tenggara's many islands. Another surf spot on our way to Bali, but when we entered the lagoon with our friends from 'de Pelikaan', the waves breaking on the reef to both sides were very small. So we called it a beach day, collecting shells, exploring the stranded wreck on shore...
...and having a camp fire on the beach. Locals from the nearby village joined us, sharing their fish with us. They just threw it in the fire until its black on the outside and then ate it. Vincent got the first try.
Rinca Island, Uwada Dasani, September 8th - 9th 2007 (by Dagmar)
Rinca, the neighboring island of Komodo. To see the "Komodo Dragons", we preferred to visit Rinca Island which has fewer visitors then Komodo. Here you still have the possibility to see the famous monitor lizards strolling on the beach. And we did see them, first their foot prints in the sand...and then there they were, just on the beach close to the anchorage....
The komodo dragons we have seen, were not the biggest of their species, lucky us, because they made crystal clear, that this was their territory. This one was almost 2m long, but the biggest ones are 3m long and they weigh around a 100kg. They are known as 'ora' to the locals and komodo dragons to Westerners. They have massive bodies covered in small nonoverlapping scales, some spiny others raised and bony. They have powerful legs with five-toed claws. Their long thick tale functions as a rudder and can be seen as a powerful weapon. Dangerous if driven into a corner, they will attack much larger opponent. They will rise up on their hind legs just before attacking. The smaller ones feed on insects, frogs or birds, the larger ones on wild pigs, deer and even water buffalo. They love to be warmed by the sun and have a very keen smell. The 'ora' is nowadays a protected species, and exists only on Komodo and around Komodo Island.
The beach provided a new furniture for the boat, the kids started building a raft, Bart trained some new surf moves and we finished the day with a Happy Hour and a camp fire on the beach.
Rinca Island, Teluk Ginggo, September 9th - 11th 2007 (by Dagmar)
With our boat friends from 'de Pelikaan' (Iris, Vincent, River, Roxy), 'Ohana Kai' (Lisa, Bruce, Tristan, Matthew) and 'Moorea' (Kelly girl, Kelly boy), we left for another anchorage on Rinca island, the bay of Teluk Ginggo. The next day we were ready for some exercise. So in the heat of the day, 2pm, we decided to climb up the mountain range close to the anchorage. We were sweating...., but up on the highest peak, we were still able to perform a 'group-Kelly-girl-move'.
Next day was Matthew's 9th birthday. Soleil's birthday will be September 21st, but most of our friends will be still in Lombok, when we will celebrate it, already being in Bali. So Matthew invited Soleil to celebrate with a pre-birthday party. The 'Pelikaan' crew did an early morning 'Happy Birthday' serenade for both of them.
At 2pm we started with a potato race on the beach. We had a kids- and an adult team. Different rallies and a consumer race followed and we finished with a treasure hunt, a potluck and a camp fire with grilled marshmallows.
Sumbawa Island, Lakey Beach, September 12th - 17th 2007 (by Dagmar and Bart)
Lakey beach with its nearby surf breaks Lakey Peak and Pipe, Nangas and Periscopes is still a surfing treasure we didn't want to miss. We could anchor right in the lagoon next to Nangas, a wave for the whole family. Never in 2 years of sailing around the world we used all the 'toys' we had on board: boogie board, surf board, paddle board, windsurfing board, kite surfing equipment...here we did!!!!!
The next day 'Ohana Kai' and 'Moorea' were joining us in the anchorage and we went straight out for some family surfing. Everybody was in the water, all the women and kids. The surf was not to big, so everybody was happy. Dagmar was on her long board, had the greatest rides of her live. She was totally stoked. Soleil and I went on the stand up paddle board.
In the next few days our schedule looked like this: wake up, look out of the window and check for surf. Surf for 2 hours, have breakfast, and then another 2 hours surf-, kite- or windsurf session. We kept this schedule until our arms fell off or we couldn't look straight any more from all the salt water and sun.
On the 3 day, the wind picked up and it was time to windsurf. I hadn't use my small board since a long long time. The swell picked up and we had a great session. The next day the waves were even bigger and my arms got even longer.
One of the local police man paid a visit to all our boats, asking many questions about our check into the country, complaining that our courtesy flag was to small, anchor fees....in the end just wanted to make a little extra money on the side.....our first experience with corruption in this country...won't be our last. Indonesia is known for it. Gave us all a bitter taste.....He came with his motorcycle helm in hand, sometimes even wearing it, on a fisher boat, accompanied by 5 local guys, one acted as the translator into English. He started with 500.000 Rp, but we all end up paying between 300.000.- and 450.000 Rp, 30-40 Euro, ...but that's a lot of money for the local community.
In the evenings we had happy hour on one of the boats or we had dinner at the Aman Gati resort, where for $15 dollars, we drank, ate and watched surf videos on the big screen with the whole family. After 5 days everybody was worn out from all the action on the water and it was time to get going.
Lombok, Ekas Surfbreak, September 18th - 19th 2007 (by Dagmar)
Not a break for myself or Soleil, it was way to big. Bart took my surf board, had two good rides, but unluckily broke my board, so he had to paddle back with two pieces.
Before Bart went back on the water, but this time with his paddle board, we made a trip to shore, watching the surf break from the cliffs high above and having a walk on the beach.
Bali, September 20th - 26th 2007 (by Dagmar)
Bali is situated between the islands of Lombok and Java. The Balinese have strong spiritual roots, are very gifted craftsman and their culture is despite of the large influence of tourists over the years, still very much alive....an island we were very much looking forward to visit. I am very interested in arts and crafts and we have never been in Indonesia before, so upfront I read a lot about the different wood carving styles and detailed arts for each region, the different skills of the craftsmen. We wanted to stay for some days in the Bali Marina in Benoa. But they told us already a week ago that they will be full. But we were lucky, after staying for 2 hours at the courtesy dock, we had to anchor in 'very' shallow water (we got stuck 2 times, but luckily it's all sand bottom close to the reef), and then we got a spot along side the dock.
The Marina is way smaller as we thought, maybe just 40 berths. Big cruise ships were leaving the docks all the time, a noisy and busy place, with very helpful people working in the Marina. We were there just in time for Soleil's 9th birthday. So as it is our family tradition, we had Soleil's birthday cake for breakfast, a brownie cake on the bottom, chocolate cake on the top...mouth watering....right?
The day we arrived in the harbor, we had a great welcome by Jeni and her husband Frank. We have met them the first time on their boat 'Seakardinal', in Opua/New Zealand month ago. Now they live with their daughter Abby here on Bali, working as interior designers of a 120ft luxury yacht. We celebrated Soleil's and Abby's birthday (July 31st) again at their house, met their Australian friend Catherine, the girls enjoyed the swimming pool, we had a wonderful Indonesian meal....
...sang 'Happy Birthday' in English and they got a serenade in Indonesian, too.
The next day Abby and her family took us up the mountains towards Ubud. Frank was driving their car. You really need time to adjust to the chaotic and busy streets here in Bali. The motorcycles were passing us constantly on both sides, cars driving against the traffic. The central village of Ubud is now considered the artistic and cultural center of Bali. Today whole villages specialize in producing certain styles of work.
The wide and gently sloping southern region is famous for their beautiful rice terraces. In some regions the farmers were already harvesting the rice. In the hilly northern coastal region, the main produce is coffee, copra, spices, vegetables, cattle and rice. The Balinese people work very hard, carrying often heavy loads on their shoulders or on their motorcycles.
In Ubud we visited 'Pasar Seni', the local market, close to the Ubud Palace. They were selling the biggest jack fruits we have ever seen. Mostly women were selling all their goods, preparing flower baskets as offerings...
Then Abby and her family had a special surprise for Soleil: the visit of the 'Elephant Park', watching the 'Elephant Show' and an 'Elephant ride'.
Balinese people are Hindu. Offerings play a significant role in Balinese life, as they appease the spirits and thus bring prosperity and good health to the family. Every day small offering trays containing symbolic food, flowers, cigarettes and money are respectfully put on shrines, in temples in front of houses and shops and at dangerous cross roads.
We decided to rent a car for two days, to explore the island of Bali a little more. Now used to the wild driving skills of the Balinese, we enjoyed it a lot. At one of the traffic lights, a motorcycle stopped right next to us. The very friendly driver was asking, if we would be interested in seeing a 'Barong & Rangda Dance'. Yes, we were. So he showed us the way to his home town Batubulan. Dance and drama have played a historically important role in Balinese society. Through this medium people learned about the tales of the Ramayana, Mahabarata and other epic stories from Balinese history. With the help of our friendly guide, we visited the Temple of Batubulan on Sunday morning.
The performance started with the 'Lelong Dance' of two women, a very classical and graceful dance. The 'Barong & Rangda Dance' is a story about the struggle between good and evil. Good is personified by the Barong Keket, a strange and fun-loving creature in the shape of a shaggy semi-lion. Evil is represented by Rangda, a witch. There is virtually no physical contact in Balinese dancing, each dancer moves independently, but every movement of wrist, hand and fingers is important and very precise. The dancers were accompanied by a 'gamelan orchestra', consisting of gongs, drums, string instruments, xylophone type instruments, bronze- and bamboo bars struck with sticks made from buffalo horn and a bamboo flute. The costumes are very detailed, all dancers were wearing make-up or masks. We had so much fun during the performance. That's a must see when you are in Bali.
Wood and stone carvings have traditionally been featured largely in temples and palaces. Carved demons and mythical beings decorate pillars, door panels and window shutters with the intention to protect the building from evil intruders.
We visited the 'Pura Taman Ayun Temple' and bought a painting showing the rice terraces from the artist I Ketut Nuada, who is having his studio and gallery inside the temple grounds. The large and spacious temple, surrounded by Lillie ponds, was originally build in 1634 and was the main temple of the Mengwi kingdom.
From there we continued driving further north, passing rice terraces, driving on the rim along Danau Buyan lake. It was Sunday. Many women were on their way to the temple making their offerings. They passed us carrying baskets with fruits, rice, joss sticks, and flowers. Up in the mountains the Balinese are drying all the spices like cloves and chili along the road on big sheets.
Close to Singaraja several steep steps are leading to Bali's highest temple 'Pura Puncak Penulisan', not a beautiful maintained temple, but from here on a clear day you will have a stunning view. Even Bart had to wear a sarong before entering the temple, but he didn't take it to serious. On the picture to the far right you see Mount Gunung Batur. You can still see the immense lava field from the last eruption in 1926 which covered the whole village of Batur down in the crater, but not the temple shrine. The village was relocated up on the crater rim.
Today, Tuesday, was our last day in Bali. We had to get ready to leave tomorrow for Kumai in Kalimantan, to visit the orangutans. So we went shopping, and Bart and Soleil did several dinghy rides to the gas station in the entrance of the bay. I worked on finishing our website and answering all the e-mails we got since Darwin/Australia, because this port was our first possibility to have internet access after 5 weeks. We could watch the fishermen in Benoa harbor bringing in a big catch of tuna.
In the evening we had dinner with Jeni, Frank, Abby and their friend Catherine at Jimbaran beach. We had chosen one of the open-sided warung (food stalls) along the beach. You pick your own fish and it's barbecued over coconut husks and will be served with rice, veggies, different sauces and a fruit salad. All tables were lit with candle lights. What a beautiful places to watch the sunset. As tomorrow will be full moon, the tide came very high. So we had an exciting dinner with moving a couple of times, because the shore break 'attacked' our table. Thank you very much to Jeni, Frank, Abby and Catherine to make our stay in Bali so enjoyable. For sure we will come back.
Wednesday, September 26th: We are on our way to Kalimantan right now. We don't expect to have internet access over there. The next possibility will be in Singapore in approx. 3 weeks. See you soon on our website.
Last modified: September 02, 2008